12 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Western Oregon
Twelve of our favorite waterfall hikes in Oregon, plus two more just across the Columbia River in Washington. Not arranged in any particular order. If you're planning a trip through western Oregon make sure to check out our Eight Days in Oregon: Waterfalls & Redwoods.
Not as popular as those in the Columbia River Gorge which often means far less crowds. The road down to the trailhead is not recommended for anything other than a high clearance vehicle, especially after snow and heavy rain. The descent to the falls includes two very tame rope sections where unless it has rained recently the ropes are unnecessary. If you're lucky you'll find people cliff jumping or kayakers boofing over the 92' falls. The columnar basalt here is special and it might be the most beautiful waterfall we've ever visited in the winter. No fees required. Paired great with the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park 40 minutes away, listed further down.
The 620'er is Oregon's tallest and definitely it's most crowded. Mileage varies on this one. To get to the famous Benson Bridge it's only roughly 0.6 miles with less than 100' in elevation gain round trip, but to get to the top of the falls is 2.5 miles and 800'. If you reach the top it's worth picking up the spur to Dutchman Falls, Wiesendanger Falls, and Ecola Falls which adds another couple miles on round trip. Many other waterfalls nearby, including Latourell Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Wahclella Falls, Punch Bowl Falls, Horsetail & Ponytail Falls, and more. Timed use permit required via recreation.gov.
One of the more beautiful hikes on the list and comes with minimal crowds. The easy going hike winds through an old lava flow before entering a gorgeous mixed conifer forest and eventually down to the base of the 226' falls. A great view of the falls can be had at a perfectly placed wooden bench just prior to the short descent, but the real magic is getting up close to its base where the spray is all but guaranteed to completely soak you. The loop trail will also take you to Upper Proxy Falls, but it's far less impressive than the Lower Falls. The road to the trailhead has a gate and is normally closed during the winter months. No fees required.
The viewpoint for the 97' falls is found feet from the trailhead, but you can also view several more falls by hiking the 6.5 mil Tumalo Falls Loop Trail. The most notable and scenic of the remaining falls are Double Falls, located about a mile from the trailhead traveling counterclockwise. Our recommendation is returning after Double Falls and heading into downtown Bend for a bite to eat and a cold one of the many breweries in town. Shoot for GoodLife Brewing Company if it's still around. A Northwest Forest Pass or America The Beautiful Pass is required. Parking can be challenging.
Sahalie & Koosah Falls
One of the best stops along the beautiful McKenzie River Trail. The viewing platform for Sahalie Falls is less than 100-yards from the parking area, but it's worth bypassing the wooden fence to get a closer view of the 100' falls even if it's frowned upon.
After Sahalie, continue along the trail with non-stop views of the beautifully blue McKenzie River and moss-covered everything to reach the 74' Koosah Falls. Travel even further down the trail and you can find some pretty great spots to view the falls from as well.
If you're looking for a longer hike you can combine Sahalie and Koosah Falls with Tamolitch Blue Pool, one of Oregon's most incredible geologic features. To do this you'll want to pick up the McKenzie River Trail #3507 on the far side of the McKenzie River which also begins at Sahalie Falls. Or, just knock out Sahalie and Koosah and drive five minutes south to the Tamolitch Blue Pool Trail and hike from there. Either way, Tamolitch Blue Pool is a must do. Clear Lake, located 5 minutes north of Sahalie Falls, is another worthwhile stop. If you're planning a day in the area and looking for a campground, we can't recommend Paradise Campground, located 15 minutes from Sahalie Falls, high enough. It's one of the best in the state. No fees for Sahalie Falls or Tamolitch Blue Pool. Vehicle break-ins are not uncommon at Tamolitch Blue Pool.
Silver Falls State Park is crazy busy all the time, but it's definitely worth a visit. Its Trail of Ten Falls is often regarded as the best waterfall hike in the state due to the number and size of the waterfalls encountered on the 7.5 mile hike. The highlight for many is the 177' South Falls, one of four falls that you can walk behind along the trail. Crowds are big here, but generally thin out quite a bit after the Maple Ridge Trail junction about 1.5 miles from the trailhead. Rain jacket recommended. Park entrance fee required.
At the trailhead you'll find a large water pipeline that was constructed shortly after WWII as part of the North Umpqua Hydroelectric Project. Not the most scenic thing to see, but shortly after beginning the short one mile round trip hike you'll understand why this one is so popular. Gorgeous views of the North Umpqua River from the surrounding cliffs are non-stop and exploring the cliffs is highly recommended. A wooden viewing platform at the end of the trail gives a fantastic view of the two-drop (40' upper falls, 80' lower falls), Toketee Falls, but the more adventurous will bypass the fence to the right and very carefully descend to the river for an even more incredible view of the falls. The descent is extremely steep, but manageable if you're careful. A rope should be there to assist you. Deaths have occurred here, so do so at your own risk. No fee to enter. Paired great with Watson Falls, located 5 minutes away and listed below and/or Umpqua Hot Springs, but do your research on the hot springs first. Super crowded. Lemolo Falls and Crater Lake National Park are also close by. No fees required.
The first view of the 293' falls comes about a quarter mile in, but the best view comes at the end of the trail where you're eye level with the middle of the falls. Nothing overly spectacular about the hike, but big bang for such little effort. We've never seen more than a handful of people on this one. Paired great with Toketee Falls and/or Umpqua Hot Springs. Lemolo Falls and Crater Lake National Park also nearby. No fees required.
Punch Bowl Falls
Amazing swimming opportunities and gorgeous at sunset, but the Eagle Creek Fire of 2017 pretty much decimated the lush vegetation that once made this one even more special. Still worth the hike, but expectations should be tempered. Don't be surprised to view salmon spawning in Eagle Creek between August and November. Small in stature at only 15', but incredibly beautiful. Vehicle break-ins are common since it's along the Columbia River Highway. A Northwest Forest Pass or America The Beautiful Pass is required.
If you're interested in a longer hike, continue along the Eagle Creek Trail for roughly 3.5 miles to reach Tunnel Falls, one of our favorite waterfalls in Oregon. Great hike, tons of views, and awesome camping along the way if you're interested in an easy backpack. The ledges along the trail may be an issue for those with a fear of heights.
Falls Creek Falls
There are a few Falls Creek Falls in Oregon, but the one you want is #152A near Stevenson, Oregon in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. No views until the falls, but once you're there you'll thank yourself. A few great spots to view the falls once you're there, but no safe way to its base. There's a way to get to the split in the falls, but it's pretty slippery and slightly sketchy in spots. The 335' multi-drop falls is one of the least crowded waterfall hikes in the area and only about 30 minutes from Washington's Panther Creek Falls, listed below. The road to the trailhead is closed during winter. No fee to enter.
One of the most beautiful waterfall hikes in Mount Hood National Forest. The entire hike winds through a drop-dead gorgeous forest and hugs the North Fork of Cold Spring Creek for about a mile before reaching a large rocky area where crowds gather. The view here is spectacular, but walking down to the falls and eventually behind is our recommendation. A Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is required. Big parking area, fills, early, but be patient and you'll eventually snag a spot. Paired great with the Lookout Mountain Trail 25 minutes away in Badger Creek Wilderness or Ramona Falls in Mount Hood Wilderness. If you're traveling from the Columbia River Gorge area make sure to look in your rearview mirror just after the Hood River Bridge for a great view of Washington's Mount Adams.
Just west of Multnomah Falls, the 227'er pours over a basalt cliff covered in yellow lichen. It's a short tenth of a mile walk to the base of the falls from the parking area, but you can also hike to the top of the falls if you like. The rocks near the base are very slippery, but getting close is well worth the inevitable tumble. Rain jacket recommended if you plan on getting close. No fee to enter.
Spirit Falls (bonus)
The trailhead is on the east (right) side of the road when traveling north on Cook Underwood Rd. You may have to park on the side of the road since the parking area for this one is pretty tiny. Steep all the way down and then an easy walk along the cliffs of Little White Salmon River before reaching the falls. There are several impressive views of the falls and the more adventurous you are the better angle you'll find. If you're lucky you'll find kayakers boofing over the falls. This one is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. Definitely worth a visit and usually far less crowded than many others nearby. No fee to enter.
Panther Creek Falls (bonus)
A short walk from the trailhead leads to a viewing platform with an excellent view, but those willing to adventure a bit more will bring a rope, tie off on a tree back and left of the viewing platform and descend to Panther Creek for some really exceptional views. If you choose to go down be extremely careful as a fall here would be fugly. It might take a few passes by in your vehicle to find the trailhead, but be patient - it's worth it. This one is also on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. Rarely have we seen others on this trail, so you'll likely have some solitude in an area that's not known for it. No fee to enter.
Have a blast, be safe, and make a ton of memories out there!